Drop Surfing vs Dropshipping

Drop surfing and dropshipping are indeed similar in the sense that they both offer goods to the client on a virtual platform. However, there is one key difference between the 2, and that's the supplier.

When referring to dropshipping, you as the dropshipper build a relationship with the supplier supplying goods to your clients, agreeing on discounts, and so forth.

Drop surfing, however, utilises software that sources out many different suppliers for the same product. There is no personal relationship with the supplier, as a drop surfer could have hundreds of suppliers.

Drop surfing further explained

As explained above, the only key difference between dropshipping and drop surfing is the number of suppliers attached to it. We’ll be looking further into the advantages and the disadvantages compared to dropshipping below.


  • Lowest prices – You’re always able to source out the lowest possible price for the item, as you are using more than 1 supplier.
  • Always stock – If one of your suppliers is out of stock on the item that the client wants, there is an entire list of other suppliers to pick from.
  • Higher returns – You’ll experience slightly higher revenue on the items that you ship out, as you may be able to find suppliers with really low prices, increasing your profit margin


  • No personal relationship – You won't be able to build a proper relationship with all your suppliers due to the nature of there being so many
  • No special deals – Because you will have business relationships with many suppliers, a single supplier may feel less inclined to offer you bigger discounts on items, which may hurt your bottom line
  • Turnaround time – Another disadvantage of not having a personal relationship with your supplier is the delivery time. You may find that stronger relationships with suppliers may convince them to prioritise your order, shipping to your client quicker..

Dropshipping further explained

Again, as explained before, dropshipping is selling goods on a virtual platform only using one supplier. We will look at the advantages and disadvantages of dropshipping compared to drop surfing below.


  • A personal relationship with the supplier – As opposed to drop surfing, dropshipping helps you build personal relationships with your supplier. This opens the door to many opportunities
  • Agreed upon discounts – Because of the connection you have with your supplier, they may be more inclined to offer better discounts as your working relationship manifests. This will turn your bottom line a lot more green in the long run.
  • Priority over drop surfers – Another bonus to having a personal relationship with the supplier is they are more likely to prioritize your orders over the random drop surfers


  • No room for variety – when you side with one supplier, what they stock is what they sell. Drop surfing may open up other variations of a product, that will be appeasing to the client.
  • All of your eggs in one basket – If there is a problem with the supplier, there is a problem with you. If your supplier lets you down in any way, there is nothing to fall back on, no other supplier to use
  • Difficulty building your brand – Because clients will most likely only pay attention to where the product came from and who made it, very little recognition will be given to your brand.

Drop Surfing Vs Dropshipping - which one is best for you?

The idea behind the invention of dropshipping is a smart one, as it was made with growth in mind. Through surfing, you'd be maximising profits, turnaround time, and variety. I mean, it makes logical sense, you wouldn't keep buying a coke at $1.69 when the coke next door only costs $1.49.

However, there are reasons why everyone hasn't migrated to this new way of thinking, and here's why…

This approach can be highly stressful on you and create a lot more unnecessary work. For example, you have a certain grocery store you go to every month to do your grocery shopping. If it will save you money, why not spend your whole weekend going from store to store looking for the best deal on milk?

You also may end up missing out on specials at your regular grocery store as you are solely focused on the lowest price.

This kind of behaviour can lead to additional running costs, as well as some costs that are overlooked. For example, precious man hours could be spent and no better deals could come up, or the shipping costs may be higher than your previous supplier. Just as all the petrol you’d use driving from store to store.

Spending $5 to save a $1.

This time spent may be worth it on just a few dozen items a day; however, this is definitely not the strategy to pursue when it comes to hundreds or thousands of different items daily.

So, the best course of action would be to start off your business through drop surfing. Use this technique to see what suppliers are out there, deciding for yourself which would be the best one to build an excellent personal and working relationship with. Orders will be slow in the beginning, as you will still be building your brand.

This will also allow you to study the supplier market, and see for yourself which supplier normally has the best deals and lowest prices. You will also develop the skill to sort through time-wasters and unreliable suppliers.

When you have eventually found your footing, and business starts increasing on an exponential scale, then you can commit to a single supplier. Just as you’d date a few people before settling down with the one you’ll want to marry. A partner that will support you and end up making a great team with you.


 Q: How can I start a dropshipping or drop surfing business?

A: There are various guides online to assist you in what you need to start your dropshipping business, which you can find here. You’ll also need to register on a website such as Shopify.

Q: Do I need to register a business before I can dropship?

A: You will need to register your business; however, it isn't urgent. You'll only need to consider registration when sales become more and more consistent and tax needs to be taken into consideration.

Q: Any further advice when it comes to dropshipping?

A: The most advisable approach to starting a dropshipping model would be to start off with suppliers who specialize in this digital platform, such as Oberlo. These suppliers have all the resources and advice to help you set up shop and what to do once everything is in place.


So that’s a wrap on the small differences but massive implications on dropshipping and drop surfing. If you have goods for sale, use the above strategy to get the best of both worlds. Survey the market and conduct trial runs with different suppliers, whether it’s one at a time or fifty at a time.

You can even use this mentality to start a drop servicing endeavour - using different platforms to hire freelancers.

Shortlist if you have to, but do what you need to do to find the supplier best suited for your needs—side with the best deals, lowest prices, and most reliable supplier you have.

Remember to also ensure that the working chemistry is good between the two of you, and enjoy your journey into the 21st century by making money off of today’s technology.